Press ReleaseSarah Wood
Fundraiser Organized to Bring STEAM Program to Prince William County Girls

Make Tech Pink aims to close the STEM gender gap using Sphero BOLT programmable robots.

GiveGab is set to host a 24-hour giving campaign on September 9, 2021 to raise money for Pink Space Theory’s Make Tech Pink Program, a six-week computer coding program that mentors girls from underserved communities in Prince William County, Virginia, using the Sphero BOLT robot. Early bird donations start on September 8.

A girl codes a Sphero BOLT as part of the Pink Space Theory STEM program for girls.

The science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) program aims to close the gender gap in the STEM industry by inspiring young girls to consider entering the workforce. With enough community support, 15 Prince William County girls will have the opportunity in October to learn important collaborative, coding, and technical skills. 

This will be the second cohort of students in Prince William County to participate in the program.  

Earlier this year, 14 girls at Swans Creek Elementary successfully completed the Make Tech Pink program. Working in small groups, the girls wrote computer programs using the Sphero BOLT. They learned how to code the robot to retell the “Three Little Pigs” story and presented their work to their families during a graduation ceremony. 

The girls were also able to learn about women pioneers in the STEM industry, leaving them with positive female role models to look up to. 

Why close the STEM gender gap?  

Building a strong pipeline of future female STEM workers is vital for Prince William County and the economic future of the surrounding region by creating jobs with high earning potential. 

By 2026, the country’s STEM workforce is expected to grow by at least 2.5 million workers. On average, STEM workers earn $14,000 more per year than workers in non-STEM fields, according to federal economic research.

However, as of 2021, only 29 percent of the STEM workers were women

Experts believe that many women don’t enter the STEM workforce due to negative stereotypes, lack of role models, and limited educational opportunities early in life. 

Confidence also plays a role. While many girls lose confidence in math by third grade, boys already feel confident in their math abilities by 2nd grade, AAUW reported

Though, enrichment programs like Make Tech Pink can begin to address these barriers. In fact, surveys show that at least a quarter of all Make Tech Pink participants are inspired to take further computer science and STEM-related classes. 

“I love how it inspires girls to code because I have always loved coding...,” said a Make Tech Pink participant. “I want to be [like] all kinds of programmers. Cyber security, game makers, debuggers and more.” 

Pink Space Theory’s other opportunities such as G.R.E.A.T Math Minds—a six-month program which teaches advanced math curriculum to 10 girls in third grade at Title I schools in Prince William County—yielded similar results for participants.  

For example, nearly 10 percent of the girls showed an increased interest in a STEAM career and the value of importance they place on STEAM. There was also a 45 percent increase in the confidence level of the participants' division ability and 82 percent of the girls acknowledged awareness of women in the field.

Ways to Give Back to Underserved Prince William County Girls 

Pink Space Theory's programs primarily target students from communities most affected by inequities and racial injustice in Prince William County, which is home to 40,000 students in 59 elementary schools. More than 50 percent of these students are from communities that are underrepresented and more than 45 percent are considered economically disadvantaged—who “qualify for free or reduced lunch.”

Within the county, the Math Standard of Learning passing rate for all fourth-grade students is 86 percent, but for Hispanic and Black girls, the passing rates decrease to 81.73 percent and 79.33 percent. 

Community support is necessary to bring this unique STEAM learning opportunity to Prince William County students. Through the Make Tech Pink Program, the girls also learn and reinforce math and science concepts through coding activities. Sphero BOLT emphasizes the power of play in education and has a variety of lessons aligned to the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards that make it easy to teach STEAM subjects in an integrated approach.

Donations will be used to cover the cost of programming, classroom supplies, Sphero BOLT robots, and future learning opportunities.  

To understand the cost of the overall program, one $60 donation will allow two students to participate in a coding session. A donation of $1,000 will pay for one six-week program at an existing Prince William County School. A $3,200 donation will sponsor a new, six-week Make Tech program at a school of your choice. However, donations of any amount are helpful and appreciated.

Please mark your calendar for September 9, 2021 to support our Make Tech Pink Program and inspire a new generation of girls to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. Click here to donate.
Press release